“I thank my God whenever I think of you, and every time I pray for all of you I pray with joy, remembering how you helped to spread the good news from the first day you heard it right up to the present.” (Philippians 1)
Dear Friends, Feb. 2018
After 40+ years of feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating the poor in the name of Christ, it is crystal clear that our work of love cannot be done ALONE. There are two ways to organize the poor. As far as one’s own arm will reach is one way and another is to work with others and reach as far as their arms will reach. Working with others is far superior. Over the years, Sr. Joan (RIP), Sr. Mary Jane, Ronnie, Jan, Aida, Susan, Jerry, Dennis, Nancy, Paul, Walter(RIP), Sheri, Larissa, Kim & Fred, Linda & Denny, Al (RIP), Max (RIP), Tensi, Joe, Marianne, Fumi, Doug and many, many others have lived and worked full time at the Catholic Worker House in Redwood City. These women and men have built the Worker here. For all of them, I will be forever grateful, and in my prayers, I constantly thank God for their gifts.
In addition to these full time, live-in jewels, there is a holy host of part time volunteers who have made our work possible. I would like to highlight just two who are currently reaching farther than I ever could and these two represent hundreds of other part time volunteers.
Pam Hitchcock is a retired legal secretary and has been teaching at our English Language School for over 20 years. When Sr. Mary Jane retired, Pam continued to teach and has taken over all of the coordination of the other 20+ volunteer teachers and the 65+ students (adults and children). Under Pam’s wise and strong guidance, not only has the school continued, but it has thrived. A hallmark of our school since the beginning (under Sheila Cockshott & others) has been JOY. As students and teachers share the hard work of learning a new language, JOY continues to be married to LEARNING and the Word of God becomes flesh.
In the 1970’s Dennis Kent was a full time, live-in Catholic Worker, and he organized what we call our Friday food distribution. As the first coordinator of our Food Program, Dennis set the tone by recruiting people from the food line to help sort and distribute the food to others in need.
For more than 15 years, Jake Messina has coordinated our Food Program. He organizes 12 women and men to unload, sort and distribute thousands of pounds of free fresh vegetables to the poor. These men and women all come from the food line just as Dennis planned.
Jake was born and raised in Sicily – he has a bit of an accent. His Italian prepared him to speak Spanish and he periodically throws in a little Portuguese for good measure. From Sicily, Jake migrated to France then Germany and then to the USA where he built a wonderful life. Jake has never forgotten his humble beginnings and he has a soft spot in his big heart for immigrants. He remembers! He remembers being vulnerable. He remembers being helped and working hard to make it. He is so grateful to God and this country for his blessings. He just wants to share the wealth. So, he shares free FOOD with the poor many of whom are immigrants.
Every Friday a team of 6 volunteer women arrive at the Catholic Worker House at 7am to clean the porch, the street, and the driveway in preparation for an 11 am distribution. These 6 are eventually joined by Jake and 6 others to unload thousands of pounds of free, fresh produce from the truck. After sorting the food, they then distribute it to about 60 families. It is amazing how much food each family receives.
I stand in awe and gratitude for all of the beautiful full time live-in and part time volunteers who make up what we call the Redwood City Catholic Worker. The Body of Christ is alive and well in our midst.
Have a Holy Lent, Larry, for all of us, living and dead
- FOOD in any amount.
- Household needs: coffee mugs, laundry detergent, dish soap, black garbage bags, tools (construction and gardening), 8 ½ X 11 white paper, zip lock bags, tin foil, cleanser, toiletries, twin bed blankets and sheets, etc.
- Transportation: bikes (helmets, locks. Lights), cars, trucks and RV’s.
- Homeless: sleeping bags, tents, matts, tarps, socks, hoodies, sweats etc. For other specifics call Susan (650) 366-4415. For those of you who do not know, our outreach specialist to homeless encampments was Doug Herbek. The men and women who live in tents love him. He has moved to live full time as a monk at the Hermitage in Big Sur. God be with him on his journey.
- A house or money to buy a house. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee (650) 366-4415.
- Shower program: Susan has begun free showers on Tues. and Wed. mornings and could use volunteers. Call Susan at 366-4415.
- Need a worker: gardening, painting, carpentry, hauling etc. call the Day Labor hiring program (Cesar) 650-339-2794.
- Your ongoing love and support.